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Friday, February 11, 2011

Effects of Sales Tax Plan "cannot be determined" says Missouri Auditor

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 Mo. auditor won't estimate effects of sales tax plan

REBECCA BERG  www.STLtoday.com
February 11, 2011
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JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich said Thursday that he will not estimate the effects of a controversial measure to replace the state income tax with a higher sales tax.
Due to legislative uncertainties and a range of possible reactions by consumers, Schweich said it would be impossible to estimate how the tax adjustment would affect the state's revenue.
"I didn't think it would be responsible to try to quantify the effects without knowing what the Legislature is going to do," he said at a Missouri Press Association forum. "I don't think anyone can responsibly say anything else at this point."
The auditor's decision is a weighty one. If voters are asked to decide whether the state should replace its income tax with a higher sales tax, they will not know how much money the state could stand to lose, or gain.
But, Schweich said, neither does he.
As a result, the auditor's fiscal note, which would appear on the November 2012 ballot if an initiative drive is successful, will state that the effects of replacing the income tax with a use tax "cannot be determined."
The proposal to eliminate the state income tax would replace the revenue with a sales tax that is higher and that applies to many goods and services not currently taxed. Supporters say the measure could make the state a more palatable choice for businesses looking to relocate.


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